Jon Heyman reported on Twitter today that the Tampa Bay Rays had declined to pick up the option on Charlie Morton, making him a free agent.
Charlie Morton’s $15M option declined by Rays. One of the best big-game pitchers in the game. More evidence of rough winter to come.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 30, 2020
Morton turns 37 in two weeks. During this shortened season he went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA. He started nine games and pitched 38 innings. That’s an average of 4.22 innings per game, a stat that does not bode well with the Phillies’ Bullpen. However, as Jon Heyman mentions above Morton is a big-game pitcher.
Talking About Playoffs? We may be getting ahead of ourselves with the Phillies’ issues, but The front office has to think about becoming contenders this year. They could benefit from a leader like Morton who has the experience and has performed in the postseason.
Charlie Morton has pitched in five postseasons, tallying ten series in total. His postseason record is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA. What’s impressive is that this year he shut down the potent Houston Astros offense. In two games against the Astros, he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10.2 innings. He was the starting and winning pitchers of game 7 of the ALCS. He also beat the Yankees in the ALDS. Morton is pretty damn good in the postseason.
Morton would most likely fit into the vacant spot left by the departing Jake Arrieta. Baseball-Reference.com projects Morton to go 7-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 2021. Let’s put that into perspective versus the Phillies starters. Aaron Nola is projected to go 8-5 with a 3.57 ERA. Zack Wheeler is projected to go 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA. Zach Eflin is projected to go 7-6 with a 4.19 ERA, and Spencer Howard is projected to go 4-4 with a 4.63 ERA.
The projections put Morton toward the top of the rotation and would give the Phillies’ a potent top three starters. However, the Phillies can’t overspend on a 37-year-old pitcher when there are many holes to fill, namely the bullpen. Personally, I would like to see Morton back in Philly, but the price has to be right.